On November 30 2023, the Education Summit, the annual flagship event of the European Education Area (EEA), brought together more than 600 participants, including policy-makers from EU institutions and beyond, and the European education and training communities.
Ms. Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen ‐ Director-General, DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, European Commission welcomed participants and highlighted the need for an inclusive and high-quality education and training system in Europe. The European Education Area mid-term review has shown great progress though there is still work to do to improve certain indicators. In line with this, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Ms Iliana Ivanova in her opening keynote speech, reminded the two EU Council Recommendations to support citizens cope with the digital transition that were approved by the Education Council during its last meeting and praised the Erasmus+ programme for having funded more than 26.000 projects and reached more than 1,2 million learners (170.000 of them coming from disadvantaged backgrounds). Basic skills and teachers shortages are the two areas where additional effort and investment are needed. The political will and the funding from the EU institutions are however guaranteed. Ms Ivanova highlighted three aspects of the ‘Learning Mobility’ package:
Education empowers and the whole education community must be involved to provide support to everyone.
A round table about the European Education Area midterm review with participation from the EU Commissioner and José Manuel Bar Cendón, State Secretary for Education, Spain, Presidency of the Council of the EU, Elisa Gambardella, President of the Lifelong Learning Platform and Horia Onita, President of the European Students’ Unio, followed. The reinforcement of European principles and democratic values to promote the EEA and support Social cohesion was mentioned by the speakers. Evaluation and monitoring of policies are also key to learning from current experiences. Education should be understood as an investment and education policies should put the learner and young people at the centre. The Lifelong Learning Platform is also proposing the upcoming European Commission to include a Vice-presidency for Lifelong Learning.
Improving the attractiveness of teachers’ careers was the topic of the second round table in the plenary session. Training support, flexible pathways, campaigning to make the profession more attractive, and recognising the key role that teachers and educators have in training learners were among the ideas shared by the panellists. The event continued in the afternoon with a series of parallel sessions about artificial intelligence, resilient investment, quality early childhood education and care, education for active citizenship, etc.
Finally, the event was an occasion to present the annual Education and Training Monitor. The 2023 edition includes a special focus on the teaching profession, specifically on teacher shortages across the EU countries and on various efforts to raise the attractiveness of the profession. You can find it here.